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Answer of Governour Gage to the Address of the Provincial Congress


Mr˙ President informed the Congress that he had in his hand his Excellency' s Answer to our Message to him of the thirteenth instant, directed to Colonel Lee, the Honourable Colonel Ward, Colonel Orne, Captain Gardner, Henry Gardner, Esq˙, Mr˙ Devens, Mr˙ Gorham, Captain Brown Colonel Pomeroy, Honourable Colonel Prescott, Colonel Thayer, Mr˙ Williams, Captain Heath, Captain Upham, Mr˙ Barnes, Captain Doolittle, Mr˙ Lothrop, Major Thompson, Mr˙ Palmer, Mr˙ Pickering, and Captain Thompson, said to be a Committee to wait on his Excellency with a Message.

GENTLEMEN: The previous menaces daily thrown out, and the unusual warlike preparations throughout the country, make it an act of duty in me to pursue the measures I have taken in constructing what you call a Fortress, which, unless annoyed, will annoy nobody.

It is surely highly exasperating, as well as ungenerous, even to hint that the lives, liberties or properties of any persons, except avowed enemies, are in danger from Britains; Britain can never harbour the black design of wantonly destroying, or enslaving, any people on earth. And notwithstanding the enmity shewn the King' s Troops, by withholding from them almost every necessary for their preservation, they have not as yet discovered the resentment which might justly be expected to arise from such hostile treatment.

No person can be more solicitous than myself to procure union and harmony between Great Britain and her Colonies, and I ardently wish to contribute to the completion of a work so salutary to both countries: But an open and avowed disobedience to all her authority, is only bidding defiance to the mother country, and gives little hopes of bringing a spirited Nation to that favourable disposition, which a more decent and dutiful conduct might effect.

Whilst you complain of Acts of Parliament that make alterations in your Charter, and put you in some degree on the same footing with many other Provinces, you will not forget that by your assembling, you are yourselves subverting that Charter, and now acting in violation of your own Constitution.

It is my duty therefore, however irregular your application is, to warn you of the rock you are upon, and to require your to desist from such illegal and unconstitutional proceedings.


Province House, October 17, 1774.

Resolved, That his Excellency' s Answer be committed to the Committee on the State of the Province.